Hello, fair citizens of the Realm! It’s that time of year again—the most wonderful of them all—Game of Thrones season. And, in addition to winter: spoilers are coming! As this is a recap, it goes over everything in crazy detail, so proceed at your own risk and don’t say we didn’t warn you in the comments below.
We’ve made it, you guys. We’ve slogged through months and months of speculation, anxiety, fear, and fake-outs, to finally head back to The Wall and know once and for all: is Jon Snow dead? Has Melisandre resurrected him? Will he still be the curmudgeon-y Lord Commander we all know and love? Or some brand new version of himself …like a Night’s Prince?
HA HA, just kidding! You don’t know any of that! Because Game of Thrones is run by medieval torturists masquerading as TV writers, and they’re apparently gonna drag this one out as loooong as they can. Do we think that long wait-time will bode well for what happens if (when) Jon Snow’s corpse gets reanimated?
They sure did lead us to believe we’d find out, though—the episode started only moments after Jon Snow’s death, opening up on the side of The Wall, slowly panning right to reveal Jon’s body in an empty courtyard. Ser Davos and some of Jon’s friends quickly ushered him into a smaller room for protection, and the waiting game begins—both for the usurpers to come take away Jon’s body and, we assume, the arrival of the Wildlings Ser Davos sent ol’ Dolorous Edd to rally.
…But not before Alliser Thorne decided it was finally his turn to be Lord Commander and make all the rules. (This dude is truly the worst.) At first, most of the Night’s Watch agreed it was not the best idea to murder ol’ JS, but it seemed to have left the room divided by the end of Thorne’s speech. (To those unsure, I say: where were YOU just moments ago when they went all stibbity-stab on poor Snow’s body?)
Melisandre was taking it, perhaps, the hardest. (Well, it’s a toss-up between her and Ghost.) During a particularly reflective moment, she even said aloud/to Ser Davos, “I saw him in the flames, fighting at Winterfell.” For her whole life, she’s relied on her connection to the Lord of Light, and her understanding of his messages in the flames, to guide her. (Or maybe she convinces herself, using magic to guide her.) But now it’s clear they’ve steered her wrong—Stannis is dead, Jon Snow is dead: could the fate of the Realm be, gulp, dead, too? Has Melisandre backed the wrong horse in this race and effectively ruined the future?
Which, of course, brings us to the final moments of the episode, where Melisandre truly revealed herself for the first time. And as it turned out—hoo boy—MELISANDRE’S OLD AS HELL! To see Melisandre disrobe was nothing new, but to see her remove her necklace and reveal herself to be straight-up crone status? What does it all mean?! Naturally, we have our theories, chief among them being: the Lord of Light is legitimate, you guys. If there are any false gods out there, it’s clearly the Faith of the Seven. This turn, too, revealed more to us than we even realize. The battle has always been a song of ice and fire, of life and death. R’hllor is the Lord of Light tasked with fighting back the darkness, a.k.a. the night, winter, ice, the Night’s King. Just as the Weirtrees see all and guide the Three-Eyed Raven, it feels safe to assume that the Red Priests and Priestesses do the same for R’hllor.
Sidebar: there’s definitely something here with Varys’ “little birds” and all of this, too, right? Is Varys a Red Priest in disguise? A warg with many birdfriends?
Of course, other things went down across the Realm outside of the dealings at The Wall. Down in the Red Keep, Jaime returned to King’s Landing with his dead daughter in hand and a devastated sisterlover Queen Reagent, Cersei, to deal with. To be honest, it felt like a real “come to Jesus” moment for the oft-hated manipulator. It almost felt as though they’re setting her up for her own character redeeming. Or…that she’ll burn the whole of the Realm down in the wake of this. (Let’s be real: it’ll be the latter.) When she spoke of the prophecy that opened last season, it felt like a real moment of vulnerability and hopelessness from Cersei, a woman who usually comes out fangs first in almost any situation. We’re interested to see how she handles this moving forward—and how Margaery comes into play with all of that.
Speaking of, we did get a brief glimpse at Margaery, getting all Septa Unella’d, though we doubt that’ll last for long, given how the High Sparrow was eyeing her. All that “You have started down the path” nonsense. Because he knows—as does Margaery—that her hold on the people of King’s Landing is real and strong. Her charisma could come in handy for his mission, so we’re expecting a lot more of that in the future.
Speaking of futures: Sansa and Theon! They’re alive! And not only that, but they also had the most badass moment of the evening: the bloody arrival of BRIENNE OF TARTH. Surrounded by the Bolton guards and hounds with nowhere else to go, Brienne and Pod came galloping in (literally) and took down the whole of the brigade. IT WAS AMAZIIIIIIING. Can’t this all end with Brienne and Dany and Sansa and Arya just hanging out, being great friends?
It was so cathartic to see, at long last, Sansa and Brienne united and on the same team. Sansa even accepted Brienne’s fealty—um, new queensguard, anyone? When (if?) Sansa becomes the Queen in the North, we hope she has a whole brigade of badass boss babes like Brienne at her side. Also: how adorable is Pod? I mean I cannot with that dopey grin. C’MERE POD.
Another shocking moment? Ellaria Sand and the Sand Snakes murdering the hell out of ol’ Doran Martell and his son Trystane (formally betrothed to Myrcella, R.I.P.). Not only was it gruesome, it set up the potential for a revolt in the south that’s long been brewing—ever since the death of Elia Martell before Robert’s Rebellion. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to the flashback to the Tower of Joy. Still: how brutally badass was the moment Obara shoved her spear up his head and through his nose? My face hurts just thinking about it.
Clearly, the Sand Snakes are not going to be pointless this season, but rather, pointed. (Sorry.)
Across the Narrow Sea, Meereen looked to be a bit in shambles, and not even the Tyrion and Varys Wandering Comedy Hour could temper the anxiety brewing ever since Dany left the city. Especially not with all the talk of eating babies. (Love seeing those two back at it again, don’tcha?) They came across another Red Priest, preaching the virtues of Dany as the salvation of the living world, which felt like hope. That ship fire didn’t point to many people around town agreeing with him, though.
But Dany’s had quite the other agenda put in front of her: a life with the widows of the other Khals in Vaes Dothrak. After being captured by Khal Moro’s khalasar, Dany was ushered to face the new Khal, who very nearly used her as a sex doll rather than respect her for the khaleesi that she is/was. But of course he did: this is Game of Thrones! It wouldn’t be an episode without a lil’ sexual violence threatened upon some women! (Ugh.) That said, the whole verbal back-and-forth with the New Khal Krew was pretty hilarious (“…is in the top five best things!”)
Thankfully, Dany is no Sansa (you’re still learning, girl—it’s not an admonishment) and can stand up for herself and thwart a rape or two from time to time. Here’s hoping she can curry favor with those fortuneteller-y widowed khaleesis in the Temple of the Dosh Khaleen and get the whole of the Dothraki people on her side. I mean, she has a damn dragon—what more do you people want?! If you’re not careful, Daario and Ser Jorah DragonscaleNiceGuy (wahhhhhhhh) will find her first and then you’ll really be on Drogon’s bad side. And trust: no one wants that.
We’d be remiss, of course, to not mention the brief moment we got with Arya, still blind, but still training with the Faceless Men. The wraith showed up and knocked out any confidence Arya may have had in her training with the quickness (and a literal stick). A girl must listen, after all. Don’t be surprised if we get very little screen time Arya this season—though not without major changes—cuz I’m thinkin’ that we won’t.
- It was too weird to see Ramsay feel pain over another person—thank goodness he fed her “good meat” to the hounds to bring it all back.
- I thought my heart was going to beat out of my CHEST watching Sansa and Theon run away and into the water.
- Unella! UNELLA.
- When it comes to Ellaria and the Sand Snakes? #ImWithHer
- “Men like us,” eh Daario? What do you mean by that? ALSO YOUR DAUGHTER KIRA MISSES YOU. Send her a letter, why don’tcha?
- “Blue-eyed women are witches,” MISS I MIGHT BE.
- Does anyone else want to try and see if they can hear every single whisper happening around Arya?
- R’hllor should really consider selling those necklaces. He’d make a killing.
- Or at least make their benefits a bit more known; he’d probably have a lot more followers that way.
But what did you think of tonight’s premiere episode of Game of Thrones? Let us know in the comments below.
Alicia Lutes is the Managing Editor and resident Khaleesi of House Nerdist. Find her on Twitter (@alicialutes).